Friday, April 29, 2011

Painting and Rusting

I've been doing a little bit of mixed media painting this week.
Getting ready to go to a local gallery tomorrow (!) to show my work for a possible "visiting artist" spot.
I've been a bit nervous and really excited (since they ask me to come!).
Hopefully I'll have the opportunity to show and sell my work there.
I'll be taking books, fiber collage pieces and mixed media paintings.
Here's a peek at three new pieces from the "It Takes a Village" series.

I'm also thinking about starting a batch of rusting this weekend...
My husband and I rusted a bunch of fibers (and things) last year but haven't done any since then.
I'm getting low on a couple of my favorite should be perfect weather this weekend to throw together a batch of rusty goodness outside.

What's on your table today?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Scribble Sketching

One of the things that I want to do is practice sketching people in public places.
I'm not used to the fast paced work this requires so I thought I would try my hand at it.
This weekend I was at a college baseball series so I sat at the back of the stadium- sketching people around me.
You'll be able to tell when you see my work that I need more practice at it...
You could join me (so I won't feel so bad about how my work looks!) and let's learn together!
I really think it is a matter of practice - just like any form of making art is.

I'll share my attempts with you here.
The first one was done at The Battery in Charleston SC. A lazy, sunny, beautiful day in Charleston.

This next page was done at the College of Charleston baseball game. Notice all of the baseball hats!

I did do a little bit of sketching that didn't involve people.
Here is a Palmetto tree at the ballpark.

If you've never been to Charleston this time of the year , you're really missing a wonderful season there.
The Confederate Jasmine (Star Jasmine) is blooming all over the city and it smells wonderful!
Here is a small sketch of one on a chain link fence. I pinched a small piece to take home and sketched it on the ride.
I love the way that I could really study the shape of the seed heads, the  way that the  flower swirls when it opens..
We really need to take the time to look at things closely...really look at them.

So, I'm here going out on a limb while I sketch people moving around.
I found it very difficult to do - that sketching when your subject keeps moving!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Artistically Speaking Radio Show

This Sunday (May 1) at 6:30 (EST), I'll be the guest on the "Artistically Speaking Radio Show"!
I really excited about joining Rebecca Parsons and Lyna Farkas on their show.
Head over to the web site and get signed in so you can listen and participate in the on-air chat.
I'll also be donating a piece of artwork to give away!

Monday, April 25, 2011


I'm trying to do some research for a new piece of artwork. Something that I have had in mind for a long time but have just now had time to really think more seriously about.

I just turned in two pieces of work for a (secret) book coming out later this year (maybe next year?)...
It's going to be an Awesome Book judging by the artists submitting work in it!

Well, back to the  research.

When I begin a new series or even a single piece of work, one of my favorite things is to research the subject. I collect images of what I am thinking about...I read articles about it...I draw it in many different ways...

I've been drawing lavender lately. Sprigs of it, flowering and non. Seed heads, sprouting, etc...
I am familiarizing myself with my subject.
I even carved a stamp or two of it.

Here's a look at the beginnings of my research...

One of  the pages is a duplicate image - I went back and began adding more details. I still have to finish these pages but I wanted to share how I typically begin working on/thinking about a piece of artwork that I could make.

Sometimes after I have spent time doing this, I decide that I don't really want to use that particular image in my work right now...I save it for later or move on to the next thing that catches my attention.
I try not to put a lot of pressure on myself to use anything that I started if I don't want to follow through with the idea.
Sometimes what I think I like turns out to be totally different after I have worked with it for a few days.

We all need to learn to listen to our heart a little better, don't we?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Thank goodness for friends that actually read my blog...
The next regularly scheduled Sketch In will be MAY 16...
May, not April...

(hey Denise!)

Monday, April 18, 2011

April Sketch In

Carol Sloan here.

Today was the Greenville Sketch In.

We met at Coffee To A Tea (great coffee and food!), then walked down this beautiful "path" to Falls Park.

I didn't get everyone in the photo (sorry) but wanted to show you how beautiful the walk down to the park really is.
There are so many gorgeous places to sit and sketch that many had trouble making their minds up on where to go.
I wanted to walk a little farther in to the park to see the waterfalls after the rain this weekend.
Here's a bit of the Reedy River under the falls.

Here's a shot that includes the falls and the suspended bridge.
The water was rushing over but no kayaks this year!

I walked around to this spot with a new friend, Jeanette, to draw a while.

We found this bench in the shade with a patch of Japanese Iris close by.


 I took a close up so that I could work on a few details (if I choose to) when I get home.
I'm not too sure that I want to go any farther with the sketch but I have that option, right?

Here is Jeannette working on her sketch of this foliage embedded into the rock wall.

 Here's my quick sketch of the Iris. I pulled out my travel watercolors to add some color to the sketch.
I'm drawing on individual sheets so that I can add them into a handmade book  later.

I added a little bit of color, a few small details and dots.
I'm reserving my option to "do" anything with this one...

 I hope that you will join us on our next Sketch In. It will be April 16. Susan and I will post the details of where to meet.
If any of you have suggestions, please let us know! This is for everyone that wants to participate. Let's go to as many different places as we can.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Denise from UNC

Denise Henderson is my buddy from western North Carolina. We met a couple of years ago at Random Arts shop when she came to take one of my drawing classes. Since then she has taken more of my classes (always doing Most Awesome work!), joined in the Upstate Sketch In joy and caught the book making bug!
She was one of the artists that attended the mixed media book making class that I had in Asheville NC a couple of weeks ago.
She is allowing me to post photos (from her Flickr site) of her fantastic book - I am just in love with her book!

Enjoy, feast your eyes...sign up for the next class so you can make your own~

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Branching Out (in a book)

I want to share a "branching out/out on a limb" story with you.

Last week I received my copy of a new book that has just been released.
Patti Digh has just written yet another awesome book that is just full of art from all over the world!
"What I Wish For You: Simple Wisdom For a Happy Life" is also a place that holds a piece of my artwork.

A very special piece of artwork.

I'll go out on a limb here and tell you the heartfelt sentiment of this piece.
For some reason, I've always been hesitant to talk about my inspiration for certain pieces of artwork.
I can talk freely in person and in my classes but tend to shy away from that on my blog or other places on the internet .
I have artwork in two other books that Patti wrote and received a special invitation to create for her latest book.

It had not been very long since my mother in law had passed away and my husband and I were beginning to become very concerned about my father in laws well being.
He was so sad, so lost...
He seemed so lonely.

We had been staying at his house some, helping with various things/just trying to be there for him, when I set up my easel in the sun room.
Behind their house is a large open pasture with a line of beautiful trees on the back property line.
I spent a couple of days there- drawing and painting, gathering inspiration and allowing art to begin heal my soul.
When I went home, I had several completed pieces of artwork. One piece really told the story of what had taken place.

A few weeks later, I received the invitation from Patti.
I sent in this particular piece because I loved it - because it had an important message, told a story that was important to me but I had never told Patti the story.
I had actually sent the piece in to illustrate an essay. Patti emailed me saying that they had picked a different piece of artwork to illustrate the story that I had been sent but would I mind them using my artwork for a poem she had...?
I read the poem and I immediately had tears spring into my eyes.

I'll explain the piece of artwork and then you read the poem.

"The Sloan Tree"

The large tree is my father in law - bent in his grief, standing apart from his family. My husband and I are the two smaller trees, interlocked (and trying to figure out what to do while we're standing there). In the tall (father in law) tree, you may be able to see a little bird on the branches and a larger bird flying towards the tree. This represents my sister in law (who was at the house with us at the time) and brother in law (who was coming down to SC very soon). They had lived out of state for several years and were just moving back "home" to SC.
We were all gathered around the lonely figure of my father in law...not knowing quite what to do but standing there anyway...just being there, being close to him lest he needed us.
We cooked.
We walked.
We laughed.
We cried.
We listened.

I never told Patti or her editor this story (until after they choose the poem for my painting to illustrate)...

not a whisper of the story.

This is the poem that they choose to pair my artwork with -

"Stay Close"

When sorrow comes
to those you love
stay close.

When sadness is
more powerful than words
more powerful
than deeds
your warm hand
your quiet company
your self in a chair
saying nothing
will be a gift.

You may wonder
"What can I do?"
There may be
you can do.

You may wish
to run.
Do not run.

Hold hands.
Eat soup.
Trace a sunbeam
with your fingers
on the table.

Let yourself smile.
Let yourself cry.

When sorrow comes
to those you love
stay close.

When sorrow comes
to you
let others
stay close too.

-contributed by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater


Isn't that just a powerful story?

So, today, I'm branching out- I'm being brave and sharing this story with you all.
Sharing the true inspiration behind a piece of my artwork...
and sharing what it touched in another.

And I want to give a very special shout out to Amy (waving!).
What a beautiful, heart-warming poem you wrote!
Your words gave me the courage to share my inspiration, they brought it to life on that very page.
Thank you so very much!

So branch out, go out on a limb and share your art along with your stories.
You just never know when someone else will see what you were trying to say.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

More books!

Here is more eye candy from the students that took my book making class in Asheville a couple of weeks ago.
This is one that Deb Brown made.
I just love the natural colors that she used!

I'm really liking the buttons on the side here. It adds such a layered and textured look to the entire book.
A coordinating bookmark...gotta love that!

I really think that the vintage linens and textiles add such a great look and feel to the books - it makes people want to touch them. And what good is a book if you can't touch it?!

I'm in the planning stages of setting up another class in Asheville right now.
After that I'll be doing one in Greenville.  It will be so good to teach close to home!
I'm also working on teaching at the Tryon Arts & Crafts Center as well...
keep your eyes on my schedule - I'll post the dates as soon as they are available.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Contour Drawing

This is Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947).

This is Pierre Bonnard on my paper after a session of contour drawing.
Ol' Pierre never looked better...

well, okay maybe the cross eyed look is kinda wonky...

I think I need a little more practice at this...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New work and a special Sketch In

I've been working on a new project for a (secret) upcoming book.
I am SO excited about this project!

I can't share anything right now
but I will give you a tiny peek of it!

 I really love using natural elements in my work when I can.
Feathers, bones, body parts (!), dried flowers, Spanish moss, sticks and stones...
nothing is safe from me.
My friends bring me awesome "gifts" all the time - insects, wings, skeletons...
I'm always on the look out for usable & recyclable ,um, parts.

So, stay tuned for more on this project later this year!

Yesterday was our first (special) Sketch In away from town.
Karoline Shaffer (one of Greenville's 3D artists) suggested an awesome site -
Victoria Valley Vineyard in Cleveland SC (not too far from Greenville).
We had a great time - sketching, talking, watching, eating, sipping wine...
getting inspiration from every turn.

Check out the photos on our Facebook site.
Several people have uploaded a few.
I've got some to add - later this afternoon.
I'll leave you with a shot of Susan Sorrel.
We both had the same idea!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Branching Out - Out on a Limb

Copied from the Sketchbook Challenge Blog.
Here's April's theme in case you missed it or don't read the (awesome) Sketchbook Challenge blog.

Jane Davies here with the April theme announcement...

Since the Sketchbook Challenge began I have been using it as way to stretch my abilities, challenge my perceived boundaries, and expand my vocabulary of artistic expression. It is evident from the hundreds of entries on the flickr site that many of you are doing the same. You can usually tell from looking at a drawing/painting/sketch whether the artist is playing it safe or taking risks. I love seeing the entries on flickr that teeter on the edge of the artist's comfort zone!

This month's theme is Branching Out, which means expanding your skills, sprouting new ideas, discovering unknown territory. The flip side of that is Out on a Limb, which means taking risks, facing fear of failure, getting into your discomfort zone, facing your Inner Critic, and taking the plunge with courage.

Getting out of your comfort zone, pushing your boundaries, sounds all well and good, but being uncomfortable does not. Sometimes being uncomfortable leads (me, anyway) to art tantrums, or worse, running back to the safe zone. However, if you practice allowing that discomfort and continuing on with courage (and without judgment), you will find that, more often than not, you will branch out. You will learn to recognize that queasy feeling as an indication that you are about to discover something new. It is like the City Limits sign on the edge of your comfort zone.

I am suggesting to you that this month try at least one page in your sketchbook (and I know you'll do more once you experience the freedom that Branching Out inspires) devoted to trying something new, something that really challenges you, even something that inspires fear of failure. Do something that your Inner Critic knows you can't do! There is no failure or "can't do" in branching out; when you are honestly challenging yourself you will always be treated by a surprise. Remember, only you can know if you are truly branching out. One person's safe zone is another's unknown territory. Oh, and don't forget to have fun!!!

Here are two sketchbook entries in which I am branching out and out on a limb. I'm searching for some way to use these circles that I've been doodling in my sketchbook:

Also some layering, maybe masks and stencils.... I don't know what I want the pieces to look like, but I am deliberately throwing myself off balance. I LOVE that about the sketchbook: I don't feel any need to "resolve" a piece or find an answer. Just sending out the question is enough.

April's theme is: Branching Out - Out on a Limb

How to be eligible for prize drawings:

In order to be eligible for one of April's prize packages you must post at least one photo of a sketchbook page related to April's theme (announced on 4/1) to the Sketchbook Challenge Flickr group and you MUST tag one of your photos with the code "apr378".
It is not necessary to tag more than one and it will not increase your chances of winning.

Information on how to upload photos to flickr can be found

Winners will be chosen based on random draw on 4/30/11 and announced on the Sketchbook Challenge blog either on that day or on 5/1/11.

Friday, April 1, 2011

First Friday

Well, I don't know about you but I can't believe that it's already April.
Time certainly does fly...
especially when you have a deadline looming!

This is how my studio work table looks today -

Items from Nature.
Unlikely work tools.
Vintage linens.
And memories from my grandmother's garden.